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Arson attack on AfD politician investigated as an attempted murder

After the arson attack on an AfD district chairman in Saxony-Anhalt's Arendsee, the police have opened investigations into attempted murder.

Published: July 30, 2019, 10:57 am

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    The investigators do not exclude a political motive in the attack, according to regional broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR).

    Unknown offenders had set fire to a wooden gazebo in the night of Sunday, in which the AFD politician Sebastian Koch and his partner had been sleeping. They had attended the summer festival for the youth branch of the AfD, Junge Alternative (JA).

    Koch’s girlfriend had woken up because of suspicious noises and noticed a person running away, Koch told the media. When she discovered the fire, she woke him up. Both were able to get to safety.

    But before the couple made their escape, Koch managed to remove the jerry can from the wooden arbor, which had served as a fire-accelerant. The two eventually put out the fire. “I am grateful that my friend is a light sleeper and awoke,” he told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit.

    Koch suspects a political motive behind the act. On left-wing online forums, there are instructions on how to make and use incendiary devices. And he has been threatened repeatedly by the left-wing extremists in the past, he said. “I do not believe it is a coincidence that the arbor was set on fire only a half an hour after my girlfriend and I went to bed.”

    In the past, there had been repeated attacks on the AfD office in nearby Salzwedel. But the arson over the weekend has a “new quality” to it, said Koch.

    Just last Thursday, the house of the Stuttgart AfD local councillor Burkhard Korneffel and his wife Lidia, who is also active in the party, was attacked by left-wing extremists. The perpetrators filmed themselves as they smeared slogans such as “pressure on rightwingers” and “attack the AfD” on walls. The attackers also glued the mailbox shut.

    On the left-wing online portal Indymedia, the perpetrators boasted about the attack. In their letter, they even claimed that 30 people had participated in the attack.

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